As a Patient Money columnist, Walecia Konrad provides financial advice for those patients choosing to pursue complementary therapies.
In the NYTimes article entitled, "Path to Alternative Therapies is Littered with Obstacles," Konrad offers tips on making the most of your insurance coverage and finding the best prices for the highest-quality alternative treatments and medicines:
- Read your insurance policy carefully.
- Help your physician code therapies both correctly and honestly for optimal reimbursement, such as using the code for muscle strain when prescribing massage therapy.
- Get preauthorization, if your policy requires it.
- Be persistent; submit claims multiple times, if necessary.
- Negotiate with your insurer and provider.
- Consider seeing an alternative practitioner who is part of a larger group of traditional physicians.
- Seek the services of a patient advocate in the billing or coding department.
- Pay up front only for 2 or 3 visits (and not 15 or more) to see how well it works.
- Ask your doctors for recommended brand names of over-the-counter supplements, and then do some comparative shopping. Think twice before buying directly from your practitioner.
Caveat emptor: Just because a treatment is covered by your insurance or you got the best price on it does not mean it is a treatment that is right for you. Buyer beware!
Healthy Survivors get good care. Whatever you do, discuss with your physicians any complementary treatments you would like to pursue. Then make a treatment decision together.